- Full name Brett Aarion Cecil
- Born 07/02/1986 in Annapolis, MD
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: L
- School Maryland
- Debut 05/05/2009
Drafted in the C-A round (38th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007 (signed for $810,000).
View Draft ReportCecil's delivery and stuff have improved significantly since his days at DeMatha High (Hyattsville, Md.), where he was a one-and-a-half-pitch, soft-bodied lefty. His draft stock climbed significantly last year when he nearly doubled Maryland's previous saves record with 13 as a sophomore. He then ranked among the top 10 prospects in the Cape Cod League, posting a 40-9 strikeout-walk ratio in 29 innings. Cecil's body, arm action and stuff have all improved significantly during his college career. While Cecil was used primarily in relief during college, he took a turn in the Terrapins rotation late this season and his future figures to be as a starter. He has four pitches, solid-average command and durability. His fastball has been up to 94 mph and sits near 91. His slider can touch 86 with good tilt and depth. His repertoire includes a a curveball, changeup and split-finger fastball, and the changeup has enough fade and deception to become a usable third offering, especially against righthanded hitters. He should find a spot safely in the back end of the first round.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Cecil served primarily as a reliever in three years at Maryland, but the Blue Jays made him a starter after drafting him 38th overall in 2007. He ranked as the short-season New York-Penn League's No. 1 prospect and pitched Auburn to the league title in his debut, then finished his first full season at Triple-A Syracuse. Cecil attacks batters with two plus pitches and has worked diligently to refine the rest of his repertoire. His two-seam fastball sits at 90-92 mph, while his hard, two-plane slider arrives at 82-84. He generates plenty of swings and misses, not to mention oodles of groundouts. He showed increased confidence in his average curveball as the season wore on. Though Cecil has the raw stuff to succeed in any role, Some observers prefer him in relief because his four-seam fastball creeps into the mid-90s in short stints. Stamina will be an issue for Cecil going forward, as he was kept on strict pitch counts in 2008, ranging from 60 in April to 90 in August. He completed six innings in just five starts all season. Because he didn't need it as a reliever, he still struggles with the consistency of his changeup, and his feel for mixing his pitches is unrefined. Toronto has worked with him on keeping his arm stroke more fluid and on hiding the ball better in his delivery. Cecil follows in the footsteps of David Bush and Shaun Marcum as college closers that the Blue Jays have turned into effective starters. He'll open 2009 back in Triple-A and projects as a No. 3 starter.
Cecil worked primarily out of the bullpen in three years at Maryland, where his body, arm action and stuff improved significantly during his college career. He turned in a strong Cape Cod League performance in 2006 to cement his draft stock. After the Blue Jays drafted him 38th overall in June and signed him for $810,000, he shifted to a starting role and ranked as the short-season New York-Penn League's top prospect. Cecil has four key ingredients working for him--a 90-92 mph fastball that features sink and tops out at 94, a plus slider, command to both sides of the plate and poise. His knockout 85-87 mph slider was one of the draft's best breaking balls, and he can get the pitch in on righthanders. Turning pro improved Cecil's aggressive nature, seeing as he no longer had to contend with a small home park or metal-bat home runs. With a good move to first and the ability to vary his times to the plate, he already shows a nuanced feel for controlling the running game. Auburn pitching coach Tony Caceres helped Cecil with his changeup grip, and while the pitch is still developing, it's a swing-and-miss offering against righties at times. He also has a fringy curveball that he'll use as a show-me pitch. As he gets acclimated to starting, he'll have to prove he can hold his velocity after it tended to drop off quickly in the NY-P, where he was limited to a 55-pitch maximum in the regular season. Toronto was elated that Cecil fell into the supplemental first round. His frontline stuff and bulldog demeanor should make him at least a No. 3 starter. He'll begin his first full season in high Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Cecil and Daniel Moskos were the top two closers in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2007, and both have become starting pitchers in pro ball. While Moskos, the fourth overall pick last year, had an awful year in the high Class A Carolina League, Cecil started in high A, pitched the bulk of his year in the EL and finished up in Triple-A. He could follow David Bush and Shaun Marcum as college closers that the Blue Jays have turned into effective starters. "I liked him so much as a reliever as an amateur, and I think I may be in the minority because I still think he'd be better in the bullpen," an AL scout said. "His fastball was solid average when I saw him, 87-91 mph, and touches plus. His slider's still his best pitch, still a plus pitch, and he threw some solid curves too. To me, the fastball plays up in the bullpen, and his slider's a real swing-and-miss pitch."
Cecil worked primarily out of the bullpen in three years at Maryland, though his three-pitch mix led many scouts to believe he could start in pro ball. After the Blue Jays drafted him 38th overall in June, Cecil shifted to a starting role and dominated NY-P hitters. He saved his best start for last, pitching seven-innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts to win the clinching game of the playoffs for Auburn. He's still adjusting to pitching for longer stints, and while he runs his fastball up to 93-94 mph early in games, his velocity drops off fairly quickly. That didn't make him any less effective at the short-season level, as he did a good job mixing in his above-average mid-80s slider and quality changeup. He commands the strike zone well and also has a commanding mound presence, thanks to his broad shoulders, physical build and tenacity. "I think he's an internal competitor of sorts. I don't think he wears his emotions on his sleeve very much," Auburn manager Dennis Holmberg said. "He's everything he was advertised as. He's got all the ingredients: a power-throwing lefthander with an outstanding breaking ball, and a good competitor."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Slider in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009
- Rated Best Slider in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008